Core Requirements & Courses

Core Requirements & Courses

The Boston College Core Curriculum is a program comprised of 15 Core requirements for all Boston College undergraduates.


​The need to make, experience, and comprehend art has been one of the essential, defining human activities since history began. The arts are thus integral to human experience and expression, the development of critical interpretive skills, an understanding of creative processes, and the fostering of imagination and empathy. The critically engaged practice of the arts, arrived at through rigorous training, uniquely nurtures creativity and innovation. Anchored in experimentation and creative problem-solving, the arts challenge students to make connections across traditional disciplinary boundaries. ​

Three credits of coursework in art history, studio art, film, music or theater are required and will address some combination of the following criteria: students will acquire a greater understanding of the technical skills required to create works of art; students will gain knowledge of the aesthetic questions raised by works of art; and students will understand the historical contexts in which such works were created. As a result, students will be able to engage meaningfully with art through creative work and/or to articulate their understanding of art in oral and written expression.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement

Spring 2020

Course Number Course Name
ARTH1101 Art: Prehistoric to the Middle Ages
ARTH1102 Art: Renaissance to Modern
ARTH2206/CLAS2208 Art and Myth in Ancient Greece
ARTH2213 Islamic Architecture
ARTH2222 Image& Imagery: Lat Med Art
ARTH2251 Modern Architectur
ARTH2267 From Salt Box-Skyscaper
ARTS1101 Drawing Foundations
ARTS1102 Painting Foundations
ARTS1107 Design Foundations
ARTS1150 Painting Plus: Collage
ARTS1155 Introduction to Digital Art
FILM1701 Coming of Age: Film
THTR1120 Elements of Dance
THRT1170 Introduction to Theater
THTR1703 Performing the Immigrant Experience

Cultural Diversity

A critical component of a liberal education is the capacity to see human experience from the point of view of others who encounter and interpret the world in significantly different ways. Courses in Cultural Diversity, by introducing students to different cultures and examining the concepts of cultural identity and cultural differences, are aimed at developing students' appreciation of other ways of life and providing a new understanding of their own cultures.

More specifically, the Task Force envisions a one-course Cultural Diversity requirement being fulfilled by:

  • courses on Asian, African, Middle Eastern and Latin American cultures
  • courses on minority cultures of the United States derived from these cultures
  • courses on Native American cultures
  • courses that address the concept of culture from a theoretical and comparative perspective either separately or in the context of the courses listed in above.

Cultural Diversity courses could be designed as departmental offerings or as interdisciplinary courses and could approach the culture in various ways: through its religious or ethical values; from an understanding of its historical development; from the perspective of its social, economic and political systems; or from an appreciation of its literary, artistic or other cultural achievements.

The Cultural Diversity requirement functions as a graduation requirement, and, unlike other Core requirements, may be fulfilled by a course above the Core level. It may simultaneously fulfill another requirement of the Core or the major.

Click here for a list of Core courses on the theme of Difference, Justice, and the Common Good, which fulfill the Cultural Diversity requirement.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement - Fall 2019/Spring 2020


Course Number Course Name Semester
BIOL2240 Race, Disease and Disparities Fall 2019


Course Number Course Name Semester
COMM444201 Intercultural Communication Fall 2019 / Spring 2020


Course Number Course Name Semester
ENGL2246 Intro to Asian American Literature Fall 2019
ENGL4016 Reporting Civil Rights Fall 2019
ENGL4495 Contemporary Asian Cinema Fall 2019
ENGL4637 Capstone: Vision Quest Spring 2020


Course Number Course Name Semester
HIST1005 Asia in the World I Fall 2019
HIST1055 Globalization I Fall 2019
HIST1077 Globalization I Fall 2019
HIST1083 Globalization I Fall 2019
HIST1831 Colonial Latin America Fall 2019
HIST2051 Modern China Fall 2019
HIST2481 African American History I Fall 2019
HIST2482 African American History II Fall 2019
HIST4140 Middle East in the 20th Century Fall 2019
HIST4150 Modern Iran Fall 2019


Course Number Course Name Semester
PHIL4468 Asian Philosophy Fall 2019
PHIL4476 Classical Chinese Philosophy  

Political Science

Course Number Course Name Semester
POLI2420 Modern Iran Fall 2019

Romance Languages & Literatures

Course Number Course Name Semester
ITAL5570 Immigrant Voices in Contemporary Italy Fall 2019
Writing and Memory in the Andean World
Spring 2020

Slavic Studies

Course Number Course Name Semester
EALC2161 Ghosts and Other Happenings in Chinese Literature Fall 2019
LING3362 Language in Society Fall 2019
NELC2061 Language, Memory and Identity in the Middle East Fall 2019
NELC2161 Modern Middle Eastern & Arabic Literature Spring 2020
SLAV2065 Society and National Identity in the Balkans Fall 2019
SLAV2069 Literature of the Other Europe Spring 2020
SLAV2169 Slavic Civilizaions Spring 2020


Course Number Course Name Semester
SOCY1036 Intro to Latin American Studies Fall 2019
SOCY1148 Language, Memory and Identity in the Middle East Fall 2019
SOCY2254 Community Service and Research I Fall 2019
SOCY2280 Society & National Identity in the Balkans Fall 2019
SOCY3362 Language in Society Fall 2019
SOCY3367 Social Justice in Israel & Palestine Fall 2019
SOCY3388 Culture Through Film Fall 2019


Course Number Course Name Semester
THTR3385 African American Theater and Drama Fall 2019


History Core courses offer long-term and global perspectives on the social, economic, political, and cultural factors shaping human experience. They introduce students to the importance of historical context and the process of historical change by examining which aspects of human life have changed and which have endured over time and across different regions of the world. Students learn how to interpret the past using primary sources, and they acquire breadth of knowledge, a critical framework, and analytical skills. By studying past events, students develop an understanding of the historical roots of contemporary societies and come to view the present with a sharper eye, appreciating that it, too, is contingent and will one day be re-examined and reconstructed. Through this process, students become better-informed and more open-minded whole persons, prepared to engage in the world.

Studying a broad sweep of time is essential to forming a rich sense of history. Toward this end, and as part of the Core Curriculum, students take two (2) three-credit History Core courses, one pre-1800 and one post-1800. Learning history also involves more than books and lectures. We learn by doing, and the History Core shows that history is alive and that we are part of it. In addition to reading documents, examining artifacts, writing essays, and attending lectures, students move outside the classroom to explore living history in interdisciplinary ways. We make use of the outstanding resources on campus and in the greater Boston area, visiting museums and historic sites, attending special presentations and performances, and conducting oral interviews.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement

Fall 2019

History I
Course Number Course Name
CLAS2205 / HIST2201 Greek History
HIST1005 Asia in the World
HIST1011 Atlantic Worlds I
HIST1055 Globalization I
HIST1077 Globalization I
HIST1083 Globalization I
HIST1705 Revoultionary Media: How Books Changed History
HIST1822 Core Topics: Europe from the Outside
HIST1831 Colonial Latin America
HIST1841 When Worlds Collide: Contact to Constitution
HIST1842 Atlantic World and Environmental Change
HIST2201 / CLAS2205 Greek History
History II
Course Number Course Name
HIST1094 Modern History II
HIST1505 Planet in Peril: History & Future of Human Impacts
HIST1704 The Worlds of Moby-Dick: What Historical Forces Shape a Book's Greatness?
HIST1706 How Democracies Die: A Historical Postmortem
HIST1713 Environmental Crisis: How Past Disasters Shaped the Present
HIST1715 Citizenship, Immigration and Belonging in the United States
HIST1716 Citizenship, Immigration and Belonging in the United States
INTL2200 Where on Earth
UNAS1702 Life, Liberty & Health: Policy, Politics, and Law


Classical Studies, English, German Studies, Romance Languages and Literatures, Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures

Literature, in all its genres, is a fundamental vehicle for understanding human experiences. By taking three credits of the Core Curriculum in literature, students read in order to explore the characteristics and values of their own and other cultures; to discover alternative ways of looking at the world; to gain insights into issues of permanent importance and contemporary urgency; and to distinguish and appreciate the linguistic and formal satisfactions of literary art.

To read literature critically is to examine the human condition through language’s expressive power and to place the reception of literary works in cultural, historical, and social contexts. In Literature Core courses, students will be introduced to disciplinary skills including close reading, analysis of texts, and the practice of writing about them with clarity and engagement. Through shared critical and reflective inquiry, students will explore ways in which meaning is textually produced in the world.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement

Fall 2019

Course Number Course Name
ENGL1080 Literature Core
ENGL1503 Beyond Price: Markets, Cultures, Values
ENGL1712 Roots and Routes: Reading Identity
ENGL1714 Reading Melville's Moby-Dick
ENGL1715 Revolutionary Media: How Reading Changes Us
ENGL1717 Fictions of Development: Adolescence in Historical Context
ENGL1718 Reading In/Justice: Literature as Activism
ENGL2202 Beast Literature
ENGL2227 / SLAV2162 Classics in Russian Literature
FREN3307 Great Books in French
FREN3393 Life at the Limit: Narratives of Transformation
SLAV2162 / ENGL2227 Classics in Russian Literature
SPAN3395 Contextos
UNAS1704 When Life Happens: Disability and the Stories We Tell


Mathematics has been a significant component of human knowledge throughout history, and today its reach has expanded beyond the natural sciences and technology to encompass the social sciences, business, law, health care, and public policy, among other fields. The study of mathematics fosters the use of quantitative methods to analyze diverse problems, the urge to recognize commonality in such problems and seek generalization, comfort with mathematical abstraction, and the ability to solve problems in new and unfamiliar contexts. Mathematics is universal, and a well-educated person will rely on these skills throughout life.

Students taking one (1) three-credit Core course in mathematics should therefore:

  • learn the nature of mathematical inquiry: abstraction and generalization;
  • understand the power of mathematical reasoning to reach conclusions with assurance;
  • communicate solutions clearly and effectively;
  • study and appreciate applications of mathematics to other disciplines.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement

Fall 2019

Course Number Course Name
CSCI1101 Computer Science I
CSCI1701 Privacy, Fairness and the Digital World
MATH1004 Finite Probability & Applications
MATH1007 Ideas in Mathematics
MATH1100 Calculus I
MATH1101 Calculus II
MATH1102 Calculus I (math/science majors)
MATH1105 Calculus II (math/science majors)
MATH1190 Fundamentals of Math I
MATH2202 Multivariable Calculus
MATH2203 Multivariable Calculus (honors)

Natural Science

Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Physics

We live in a vast and complex universe and natural world, from the largest cluster of galaxies to the smallest subatomic particle. Science is our way of making sense of and understanding nature through systematic observation and experimentation. Scientific knowledge is organized through logical, theoretical, and mathematical frameworks. Mindful of the impact that discoveries and technology can have on our society, we seek to apply scientific understanding to the ultimate benefit of humankind.

The Natural Science Core consists of two (2) three- or four-credit courses in Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences or Physics. Students completing the Natural Science Core will:

  1. expand their understanding of the principles, body of knowledge, and investigative strategies that comprise science and its technological applications;
  2. develop a scientific literacy that will promote curiosity, respect for the scientific method, and general awareness of the limitations of scientific conclusions;
  3. recognize the role of scientific discovery, past, present and future, in interrelated concerns such as human health, societal well-being, and planetary sustainability; and
  4. appreciate the role of science in defining their relationship with the natural world and their position within the cosmos.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement

Spring 2020

Course Number Course Name
CHEM1106 Chemistry and Society II
ARTH1300/CHEM1102 Intersections Science & Painting
CHEM1110 General Chemistry
EESC1125 Exploring Earth History
EESC1145 Origin & Evolution of Life
EESC1168 Environmental Geoscience: Earth Processes and Risks
EESC1174 Climate Change & Society
EESC1177 Cosmos
EESC1182 Living Earth II
EESC1187 Geoscience & Public Policy
EESC1507 Powering America: Energy, Tech, Environment


Philosophy has a permanent and central place in Jesuit higher education and is an important part of the Boston College Core Curriculum. By introducing students to the great philosophical questions, philosophy offers a perspective which makes possible an integrated vision of physical, human and spiritual reality; it weighs propositions fundamental to personal identity, dignity, religious belief, and social responsibility; and it examines moral issues that affect individuals and communities. The philosophy Core teaches critical and analytical skills so that students develop an intellectual and moral framework for considering questions of ultimate value and significance, challenging them to translate philosophical principles into guides for life. All Core offerings in philosophy bring students to reflect critically on the kinds of claims made in different disciplines from the natural sciences to theology by considering questions about the nature of reason, evidence, belief, and certainty. The two (2) sequential three-credit courses in the philosophy Core aim to teach students that the philosophical habit of mind is part of a well-lived life, providing the perspective and tools for critical evaluation of and engagement with contemporary problems and questions.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement

Spring 2020

Course Number Course Name
PHIL1090/PHIL1091 Perspectives
PHIL1070-PHIL1071 Philosophy of the Person
PHIL1088/PHIL1089 Person & Social Responsibility
PHIL1711 The American Divide: The Philosophy of Inequality

Social Sciences

Psychology in Education, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology

The social sciences help us better understand the social worlds in which we live. The social science Core requirement explores the influences on the way people think, feel, and behave in those social worlds by considering the nature of the individual, institutions, and social interactions. Although the social science disciplines have different approaches, they share a common methodology—a theory-driven empirical analysis of data that has relevance to real-world issues. The majority of complex problems that we face in today’s world have economic, political, psychological, and sociological dimensions. The social sciences help students to develop skills to grasp the complexity of the world and to understand themselves and their place in the world.

The Core requirement consists of two (2) three-credit courses chosen from one or more of the following disciplines: economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. Core courses in the social sciences emphasize one or more of the following: major concepts and central questions of the discipline, key methods for using logic and evidence to evaluate findings and conclusions, or real-world and policy applications.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement

Spring 2020

Course Number Course Name
ECON1131 Principles of Economics
ECON1132 Principles of Economics
ECON1703 The American Divide: The Economics of Inequality
POLI1041 Fundamentals/Concepts of Politics
POLI1042 Intro to Modern Politics
POLI1061 Intro to American Politics
POLI1091 Intro to Comparative Politics
PSYC1032 Science of Emotion
PSYC1092 Humans & Other Animals : Mental Health
PSYCH1110 Intro to Brain, Mind & Behavior
PSYC1111 Intro to Psychology as a Social Science


Theology is the disciplined reflection on the mystery of God in the world and on the traditions of belief, worship, and ethics that shape communities of faith. It explicitly reinforces the tradition of Jesuit humanism, which prizes the scholarly investigation of religious faith and its impact on human culture. The study of theology is an essential feature of the Core Curriculum in a Jesuit, Catholic university. This implies an institutional commitment to the Roman Catholic tradition, but also encourages the study and understanding of other theological traditions.

The Core requirement in theology is six credit hours and may be fulfilled by one of several two-semester sequences. Each sequence in the theology core offers a distinctive contribution, but together they share the following goals in common: engaging the quest for truth and meaning that generates theological insight in Christianity and other religious traditions; exploring the fundamental texts and practices that shape Christian theology; understanding the dynamic relationship between religious truth-claims and their moral implications, both personal and societal; engaging the various disciplinary methods required for theological reflection, including textual, historical, social, and cultural analysis; and relating theological inquiry to the enduring questions animating the broader liberal arts tradition.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement

Fall 2019

Course Number Course Name
THEO1088 / PHIL1088 Person and Social Responsibility I
THEO1090 / PHIL1090 Perspectives on Western Culture I
THEO1401 Engaging Catholicism
THEO1402 God, Self, and Society
THEO1420 The Everlasting Covenant: The Hebrew Bible
THEO1421 Inscribing the Word: The New Testament
THEO1422 The Sacred Page: The Bible
THEO1430 Buddhism and Christianity in Dialogue
THEO1431 Islam and Christianity in Dialogue
THEO1432 Hinduism and Christianity in Dialogue
THEO1433 Chinese Religions and Christianity in Dialogue
THEO1434 Judaism and Christianity in Dialogue
THEO1707 Geographies of Imperialism: Theology of Colonization


Boston College’s First-Year Writing Seminar (FWS) is a 15-person workshop designed to help you develop and practice skills in writing and research. Over the semester you will learn to write rhetorically, devising effective writing processes for a variety of purposes and audiences, including but not limited to, academic writing. Each workshop allows you to work creatively on a variety of writing tasks and to put yourself in conversation with other writers. You’ll meet regularly with your instructor to make revision plans, learn to give and receive productive feedback to other writers, and develop skills for revising essays before submitting them for evaluation. You may also work with classmates to present and "publish" your work within various classroom, campus, or internet settings.

One goal of FWS is to teach you a variety of strategies to practice in a range of writing situations which, in turn, will help you to understand and plan for subsequent writing challenges in your future academic, professional, and personal lives. Another goal of FWS is to give you the tools and the incentive to keep writing after the course has ended: in other courses, in your community, and for your own pleasure. Part of learning to write well, especially in academic settings, involves putting yourself into conversation with current arguments using the conventions and tropes of relevant discourses. In FWS you will also be introduced to library resources and will practice writing and documenting secondary research.

Courses Fulfilling the Core Requirement

Fall 2019

Course Number Course Name
ENGL1009 First Year Writing Seminar for English Language Learners
ENGL1010 First Year Writing Seminar
ENGL1713 Roots and Routes: Writing Identity
ENGL1719 Writing In/Justice: The Power of Response
ENGL1722 Oppression and Change in US: Writing